Wiehe powers Nordonia girls soccer past solid Stow squad
MACEDONIA — Both Nordonia's Les Gicei and Stow-Munroe Falls' Jim Dudones were in agreement.
The girls soccer battle between the Knights and Bulldogs Sept. 16 at Boliantz Stadium was a classic case of a solid all-around team taking on a team with a superstar.
The Bulldogs controlled the ball for long stretches, showed some excellent passes and were physical throughout the game.
There were two things, however, that Stow didn't have: Finishing and Sam Wiehe.
Nordonia's senior ace scored goals on either side of halftime, which proved to be enough to give the Knights a 2-0 win at Boliantz.
Nordonia improved to 7-1, 3-1 in the Suburban League National Confernece, while Stow dropped to 2-3-2, 0-1-2 in the conference.
Coming off a 4-1 win over Canton GlenOak Sept. 12. Gicie noted his team was far from its best, particularly in the first half.
"We weren't sharp tonight," Gicei said. "I was worried there might be a bit of a letdown because we've been rolling so well. Their work rate was wasn't that good in the first half. When you have an all-state player like Sam, sometimes you just have have to let her do her thing."
Wiehe also said noted things weren't quite clicking for Norodnia.
"I think we were coming off Senior Night, so that's why there was a letdown," Wiehe said. "The pace was definitely different from what it was with GlenOak. They were really playing technical soccer, so we had to adjust our defense a bit."
As for Dudones, he could do little to tip his hat — and be thankful that Wiehe will graduate next spring before heading to the University of Houston.
"She is so good. She is a game changer," Dudones said. "I am very glad to see her go after this year.
"We just couldn't put together that final piece. There's a lot of positives to come out of tonight. It's disappointing to lose, but the season is not over."
For long stretches, Stow looked the more likely team to score. The Bulldogs' passing game had them camping out in Nordonia's end for much of the first half.
It was some lackluster finishing — and excellent work by Nordonia's backline — that frustrated Stow's efforts. Gicei credited Knight center backs Maddie Wasielewski and Campbell McFerren for doing an excellent just slowing the Bulldogs' attack.
"Their middle defense was just good enough and we just far enough off that we couldn't get through," Dudones said.
Stow's best scoring chance may come in the 17th minute. Nordonia goalkeeper Lyndsey Beatty had to leave her line to break up a potential breakaway, but her clearing ball was intercepted by Stow forward Paige Klingensmith.
Klingensmith put her shot on goal and Beatty was beaten, but the Nordonia defense cleared the ball off the line.
Not long after, Nordonia took the lead.
In the 22nd minute, Nordonia junior Athena Kolettis made a probing run to the end line and was tripped in the box.
Wiehe took the penalty kick and smashed a low shot into the right corner of the net, giving Stow goaltender Taylor Galioto no chance.
It turned out the goal would be Nordonia's lone shot on goal in the first half, as Stow would finish the game with a 6-4 edge in shots on goal. Beatty had five saves, Galioto finished with two.
Stow continued to probe before and after halftime, while often throwing two defenders at Wiehe every time she touched the ball.
"We even talked about Sam being able to run down the left side and cut back inside," Dudones said. "That's when she's after to load up that bazooka of hers. That's exactly what happened on the second goal."
Indeed, the second goal in the 48th minute was a moment of individual brilliance from Wiehe.
Taking the ball just on Stow's side of midfield, Wiehe dribbles down the sideline, cutting around two Stow defenders.
Just outside the box, Wiehe unleashed a shot that flew over Galioto and into the net, making it 2-0.
Nordonia spent more time in the Stow end in the second half, but still had plenty of defending to do.
Stow freshman Paiton Marino made several dangerous runs in the game, but Marino's turnaround shot in the 76th minute went right to Beatty in net.